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Pros & Cons

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Spacious cargo area
  • Large back seat
  • Navigation system complicates some controls

Rankings & Awards

The 2012 Subaru Outback's #1 ranking is based on its score within the 2012 Wagons category. It was the winner of our 2012 Best Wagon for the Money award and the winner of our 2012 Best Wagon for Families award. Currently the Subaru Outback has a score of 8.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 25 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 8.8
Interior: 8.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 9.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Subaru Outback Overview

The 2012 Outback is available with a four-cylinder or a six-cylinder engine. Automotive journalists noted that the six-cylinder Outback provides extra passing and merging power, but they wrote that the four-cylinder model has enough power for most situations. A six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive are standard on the base Outback, while a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available. Six-cylinder models come standard with a five-speed automatic transmission. The 2012 Subaru Outback gets up to an EPA-estimated 22/29 mpg city/highway, which is slightly less than what rivals like the 2012 Hyundai Elantra Touring and Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen get. While a few test drivers wrote that the Outback’s steering lacks feedback, most agreed that it has a comfortable ride and composed handling.

Reviewers agreed that the 2012 Subaru Outback has an attractive interior design, and they said the quality of the Outback’s interior materials is appropriate for the class. They were pleased with the Outback’s comfortable front seats, as well as its spacious rear seats, which they said offer plenty of head- and legroom. With a maximum of 71.3 cubic feet of space, the Outback has more cargo space than most competing wagons. The Outback comes standard with a four-speaker stereo with an auxiliary input. Available features include leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Harman Kardon audio system, navigation, Bluetooth and a USB port. While reviewers found most of the Outback’s interior controls straightforward, some noted that stereo adjustments are more difficult on models with the available navigation system.

When it was new, the 2012 Subaru Outback won our Best Wagon for Families and Best Wagon for the Money awards.

Other Wagons to Consider

The 2012 Toyota Prius V gets great fuel economy for the class and comes with more standard features than the Outback. Additionally, critics appreciated the Prius V’s roomy seats and spacious cargo hold.

The 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon impressed critics with its agile handling, upscale interior materials and large cargo area. The Acura TSX Sport Wagon has a number of standard features for the class, including leather upholstery and heated, power-adjustable front seats.

Compare the Outback, Prius V and TSX Sport Wagon »

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